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Mark Sanchez Press Conference

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Courtesy NY Jets PR Department

Transcript of QB Mark Sanchez‘s news conference following the Jets’ Wednesday midday practice:With all the fires in California, I’m just sending love to the firefighters and the urban search and rescue teams. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

On if the California fires are in his hometown…

No, they’re usually out in the valleys. They’re just lucky right now. I’ve been talking to my dad every other day or so. They said that the best part is that there’s not as much wind right now so they’re not really kicking up anything, which is very good. But when the winds pick up, it’s going to be bad. Usually the Santa Ana [winds] are at the end of the month so it might get worse, but hopefully not.

On if his firefighter father, Nick, has been deployed…

No, he hasn’t been deployed yet.

On if his parents will be watching his first pro game and start for the Jets at Houston…

Absolutely, they’ll be there. I’ll have full support from both of my brothers, my nephew and my sister-in-law, a whole family affair.

On his thoughts going into his first regular-season game…

I’m very excited, as you can imagine. It is a big first game for this organization, for both sides of the ball, for special teams, for Coach Ryan. It’s his first game and for me it’s my first game in this league. So this is a must win for us. That’s the way we feel.

It’s going to be like that every week, but this first game you just want to get things started off right and I know Houston feels the same way. They’re tough to play at home, they have great fans, they’re rowdy, they’re tough, they’re loud, and we need to prepare for that, but it’s going to be a fun atmosphere. I’m excited to be a part of it.

On how prepared he is for Houston…

It’s only Wednesday, but we’re working hard. Schotty [Brian Schottenheimer], Coach [Matt] Cavanaugh, the entire offensive staff, and Coach [Bill] Callahan, they’re getting us all ready individually and then collectively as an offensive unit. I think that we’ve got a great gameplan coming in and we need to attack a great defense. It’s going to be a formidable challenge for us and we’re excited about the challenge.

On what it will be like sitting in the locker room prior to the start of the game…

Prior to the game, hopefully it won’t be too emotional because I’ll just be excited and that will be done with hopefully by warmups. Then I’ll be snapping into game mode, getting my focus down and really honing into my keys, my checks, my alerts, my reads and my progressions. Then just going out and playing and having fun because that’s what it will come down to, just the most physical team and doing my best to lead our guys. That’s what I’ll snap into. That will be my focus.

On if he will have nerves before the game…

I don’t know. I think the preseason helps with a lot of that. I know as soon as that game starts, I’ll be more excited than nervous. Just excited to be out there, to get playing again and start the season. It’s important to me. I want it to go right. I want a win, and we’ll see what happens.

On his confidence and poise…

I think I learned a lot of it growing up having to go against my brothers in everything. They’re always older and it’s always more difficult, so I couldn’t show my brothers that I was hurt or that I was tired or that they were just kicking my butt in basketball, football, baseball, anything. I just never wanted to show them.

It’s hard because I get worked up and I get excited. When I miss a play I know I had, I’m the first one yelling at myself and I get an ugly face on and I’m disappointed, but at the same point this team doesn’t need that. There’s no time to go back to another play because you’ve got another third down coming up. If you miss a play on second down, forget it, because if you’re not ready on third down, you’re going to miss that one and then we’re punting.

I think in this preseason, in this jump from college to the pros, I’ve learned to eliminate the negative plays right away. As soon as they happen, get over it, get to the truth of what happened: “You know what? I didn’t take a deep enough drop. I was off on my footwork and I missed the ball. All right, fine. Let’s go. Next play.” I think I’ve learned that because none of the other guys harbor those feelings when they make mistakes. I’ve learned that from a lot of guys on this team and it’s really helped with play.

On if Sunday will be about slowing himself down…

Sure, I think what helps on that down is a tribute to Schotty and Coach Cav. They’re helping me out with this gameplan and I’m to the point now where I’ve almost got it memorized when they give me a personnel grouping and just the concept of the play. I know exactly what formation and shift and who’s doing what, what my progression is by the player — “OK, this one’s Leon [Washington] to J-Co [Jerricho Cotchery] to Dustin [Keller]” or whatever it is. That’s the way I want to have it.

They talked to me about how, in the old West Coast system with Steve Young and Joe Montana, that’s all they would get in the headset or they would get a signal from the sideline, it was just the personnel grouping and the concept. You have to know by the personnel and concept what hash you’re on, what play we’re running. That’s the way I want to have it down and I’m real close to doing that right now, so that’s going to be good by Sunday.

On preparing for Mario Williams…

He’s a great player. He’s one of those guy who can change the course of the game with his play. He’s physical. He attacks offenses. He busts up runs and he’s an amazing pass rusher. We need to keep a watchful eye on him and be smart when he comes free. We need to be able to protect the ball if he does get close to us and hopefully block him up real well with Brick [D’Brickashaw Ferguson] and the other guys.

On Rex Ryan making his transition from college to the NFL easier…

I think his easygoing manner and his businesslike manner, he just has a way of turning it on and turning it off. When it’s football and it’s serious, there’s no doubt what he wants and what he expects from you. He expects your best every time. As soon as that play is over or as soon as practice is over, he’s back to Rex, who’s a good old guy who drives a pickup truck.

He’s awesome. He’s great. He’s everything you’d want in a coach and he has great confidence in his players. He leaves stuff up to this team to police ourselves. He doesn’t need to be a dictator. He wants us to keep each other in check, hold each other accountable. He’s someone you want to play for.

On his relationship with Texans LB Brian Cushing…

Very close. He was my roommate for 2½ years, just a phenomenal player, even better friend and has a great family. He is one of those guys on gameday, you just don’t want to get in his way. He’s a tough young man. He’ll be coming full-speed, I know it, off the edge. That’s going to be fun to play against him for real because in practice at SC I was wearing that yellow jersey so he couldn’t touch me, but now it’s on.

It’s going to be a great experience for us. I can’t wait to see him pregame, but we need to be ready for his speed, his physical mentality and the way he can unload on guys. He knows how to hit so it’s going to be an exciting time for him.

On going against Cushing…

He’s an intense player and he’s very competitive so you need to be on your “A” game when you play Brian.

On what he expects from Cushing in Sunday’s game…

I expect him to play full-speed because he always does. He never takes downs off, so I don’t expect him to take a down off. I expect maybe a little smacktalk [laughing].

On how Cushing was as a roommate…

He was pretty funny. He always had something going on in the house or something funny to say about practice or class. Once you know him really well, he has plenty to say. He seems kind of quiet when you first meet him, but once he’s comfortable, you can have a great time with him.

On how they grew together as players…

Since we were at school so long, we saw so many players come and go. We saw missed opportunities when we thought we could have won national championships in prior years. Our last year, even after we lost to Oregon State, I think he and I were the leaders on offense and defense respectively, emotional leaders, vocal leaders, and we led by example. It was great to pick the team up when we needed to and we could sense when the team needed it, so that was great.

On the good times they had…

We’d always have fun if we ever went out. Halloween was always fun. Even if it was late night, to go get food because he would always come with me but he’d have a special meal plan. So he’d have his meal in Ziplock bags and plastic containers and I’d go get Carl’s Jr. and he’d make fun of me every time and talked about how bad fast food was for my body.

A lot of his friends from Jersey would come out and they were pretty funny. One of them fainted at my Thanksgiving party with my family, out of nowhere. He made fun of him forever. He used to have a snake in our apartment. When people would come over and fall asleep at our house we’d put the snake on them and see how scared they got. It was good.

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